The Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) welcomed the published fan-led review into football governance this week.
Following the collapse of the European Super League (ESL), which proposed a breakaway competition for the six elite English clubs, the then Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden proposed a through look into the existing football structure at all levels.
Tracey Crouch MP took responsibility for chairing the Fan-Led Review of Football Governance which has been published this week.
An email sent to NUST members on Thursday evening read: “We support the majority of the recommendations and look forward to meeting with Tracey Crouch on Friday 26th November to discuss the report in further detail.
“A lot of fantastic work has been done by supporter organisations and, in particular, the Football Supporters Association (of which we are an affiliate).
“The release of this report is a huge step, but there are still bridges to cross. The next step will involve lobbying by supporters and supporter organisations alike to ensure that recommendations are implemented through legislation.
“The government called for this review on the back of the diabolical attempt to create a European Super League spearheaded by the self-proclaimed Big Six, and it is vital to our game and our communities that the recommendations made are taken forward meaningfully.”
- An independent regulator for football (IREF) which would “ensure the long-term sustainability of football.”
- The IREF must oversee financial regulation in football too.
- A new owners’ and directors’ test to replace the existing framework, overseen by the IREF and not competitions (such as the Premier League) themselves.
- Supporters should be “properly consulted” before taking key decisions by creating a shadow board, composed of fans.
- Additional protection for “key items of club heritage” (for example its shirt colours).
- Guaranteed financial support for the lower leagues by the Premier League.
- Parity for women’s football which will be given its own dedicated review.
Tracey Crouch MP, chair of the fan-led review, said: “This Report is founded on the basis of over 100 hours of engagement with Supporters’ Trusts, fan groups, women’s football representatives, football authorities, club owners, players representatives, and underrepresented interest groups, alongside over 20,000 fans responding to an online survey.
“The report is extensive, so we will now be considering the detailed recommendations ahead of a full government response.
“The final report is a thorough and detailed examination of the challenges faced by English football.
“It is a demonstration of the financial problems being caused by incentives within the game and reckless decision making by some clubs and owners, both of which are unsustainable and threaten the future of the game.
“We are at a turning point for football in this country. The Review is a detailed and worthy piece of work that will require a substantive response and plan of action from across government.
“But the primary recommendation of the review is clear, and one the government chooses to endorse in principle today: that football requires a strong, independent regulator to secure the future of our national game. The government will now work at pace to determine the most effective way to deliver an independent regulator, and any powers that might be needed.
“This is an important Review that we hope will lead to change for good in football. The government will now work at pace on how to make that happen.”